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Huge. This document, known as the “Disposition Matrix,” is a codification of the administration’s rules for who it can kill and when. When gangs make these, they’re called Hit Lists.

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Awlaki’s family & the ACLU sued to get the basis for Awlaki’s death warrant unveiled. Judges said no.

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… nope, still no independent judge. Awlaki may have been an asshole, and he may have been a dangerous man, but he was also a U.S. citizen with rights under the Constitution.

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But not one that involved an independent judge.

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That means the Yemeni government was OK with the strike.

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Fascinating debate about incentives contained in this vague description. Ordering troops into a presumably guarded area is a fateful move. Those forces could get killed or captured, or kill innocents by mistake. What commander-in-chief defense secretary, or CIA director would order a capture mission when there’s an armed drone hovering overhead?

Also, no spoilers, but for more on this debate, see Star Trek: Into Darkness.

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The Underwear Bomber seems like a likely candidate for the U.S.‘ main source of information on Awlaki’s activities. Though it’s worth wondering about his credibility, since he’s talking in custody to save himself. Not saying that’s dispositive, just that it’s worth keeping in mind.

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Maybe it’s true. But it’s worth noting that the Obama administration never described Awlaki this way until after it killed him. And it’s not like the U.S. has a detailed organizational chart of any of these terrorist groups…

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